The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has for some time been dedicated to research and awareness of Mitral Valve Disease, but 2004 is set to see an even greater concentration of activity.

In 2002 the Lub Dub Fund was set up to raise money for research into MVD. The magnificent efforts of Breed Clubs, individual Members and groups has already raised 24,895.00 for this Fund. They must all take a great deal of the credit and the effects of this will be witnessed far into the future of the breed.

Richard Han, The Club's sponsored Post Graduate student, has started his heart research project into Mitral Valve Endocardiosis at Edinburgh University. It is hoped that Richard's dedication to the topic will bring new knowledge and enlightenment about the condition.

Following an approach made by The Club, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has very generously agreed to support the research at Edinburgh University. The Trust has guaranteed the sum of 22,950 and this further funding will enable the project to be extended to a three year PHD course. This is obviously a splendid boost for the Club's Fund Raising and its morale.

By using powerful molecular biology tools, the researchers will be attempting to discover what is happening to the valves at the cellular level. It is suspected that the reason dogs develop MVD is because a cell type, known as a valvular intestitial cell, within the valve structure begins to malfunction and fails to produce normal structural components. These components are crucial to maintaining the valve structural rigidity, its shape and function, and so prevent it from leaking.

As the CKCS Club has now reached its fund raising goal, with more success than it dared dream of, the Club officially closed the Fund on the 28th March this year.

In addition to all this current fundraising activity, The Cavalier Club has conducted a Heart Research Scheme since 1990, involving certification for dogs volunteered for testing. The results of these heart tests are then held on a database. A cardiologist has also attended our Championship Shows and several of our Open Shows each year to conduct more tests. The Club has also held Seminars, and has the active support of The Kennel Club, The Animal Health Trust and Edinburgh University.

New in 2003 was an innovative project, The Healthy Heart Partnership was established with Boehringer Ingelheim. The Club plans to hold a Health Clinic in Essex on 25th April and in the Bristol area in October. A third Clinic will be held in the Cheshire area, later in the year and the date will be announced shortly. These clinics will involve heart and eye testing, and offer a chance for Club members and non-Club members to learn about the conditions and ensure they are providing the best possible care for their dogs.

Several new heart based events took place throughout the year and 2004 will see an expansion of these activities.

As an extension of the Healthy Hearts Partnership, with partner funding from Boehringer Ingelheim. the Club is cooperating in a blood sampling project. The objective of this project is the development of a gene test for both MVD and Syringomyelia. An official Research Fund has been opened and several people have already expressed interest in helping. This will attack the heart problem on another front, and will also be a vital contribution to the research into Syringomyelia.
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